Background: TLC bioautography is a hyphenated technique combining planar chromatographic
separation and in situ biological activity detection. This coupled method has been receiving
much attention in screening bio-active natural products because of its properties of being simple, rapid,
inexpensive, and effective.
Methods: The recent progress in the development of method of TLC bioautography for detecting antimicrobial
and enzyme inhibitory activities dating between 2012 and early 2018 has been reviewed.
The applications of this method in biological screening of natural products were also presented.
Results: Some anaerobic and microaerophilic bacteria and a causative bacterium of tuberculosis have
been adopted to TLC direct bioautography. Seven types of enzymes including acetylcholinesterase,
glucosidase, lipase, xanthine oxidase, tyrosinase, monoamine oxidase, and dipeptidyl peptidase IV
have so far been adopted on TLC bioautography. Its new application in screening antiurolithiatic
agents was included.
Conclusion: The standard experimental procedures are required for TLC antioxidant and antimicrobial
assays. Some new enzymes should be attempted and adopted on TLC bioautography. The existing
TLC methods for enzyme inhibition need more application studies to assess their screening capacity
in the discovery of active compounds. The GC-MS or LC-MS approaches have gradually been
coupled to TLC bioautography for fast structural characterization of active compounds.